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Cloud Migration Best Practices

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Organizations are migrating to the cloud because of various benefits: reduced administrative overhead, flexibility of expanding or contracting storage requirements at the push of a button, visible operational cost savings – and all without buying or retiring physical servers at the data center. An increasing number of enterprises and organizations see cloud migration not only as a smart choice, but as a key part of their IT strategy. By running production workloads (hybrid model) on a multitude of public clouds, and by thoughtfully embracing cloud services that enable the mobility and interoperability of workloads, enterprises are now enjoying the full economic benefits of the cloud platform.  

It is apparent that if businesses of any size are going to stay competitive, they need to consider migrating wholly or a portion of their workflows to public clouds. For businesses that want scale, agility, and security, cloud migration is often the best choice. It helps businesses accelerate innovation, modernize legacy infrastructure, expand globally, and gain real-time, ongoing insights even from complex, multi-cloud architectures

Whenever you deal with a cloud migration project, the project will have a far-reaching impact on the users, processes, and analytics applications. In addition to choosing the best migration strategy for your company, there are some additional practices that you should follow to successfully make the move to the cloud. For a smooth migration journey, you generally have to mitigate risks, assess which data to move first, and determine where the data needs to be moved. 

The entire project involves a combination of strategies and best practices, which once understood and adopted in a typical cloud migration project, will help ensure smooth transition to the cloud. These include:

  • Understand how moving to the cloud would fit into your organization’s business strategy. If keeping pace with the future is the enterprise objective, then perhaps using the refactor strategy for moving to the cloud is a better approach. One benefit of migrating to the cloud is you get the ability to scale out servers and ditch under-used applications.
  • Think of migrating data and applications to the cloud if it leads to major cost savings for your organization. When migrating workloads from your on-premises infrastructure to a public cloud, you improve your applications’ performance, reliability, and security, and may even reduce costs.
  • Before planning the migration process for shifting an on-premises setup to a private, public, or hybrid cloud, you need a good understanding of the existing infrastructure and applications in your organization. This step is important because once you move into the cloud migration solution, you will need to conduct a pre- and post-migration comparison of application performance, both in terms of technology and business, in a low-risk testing environment. 

With the above migration strategies in place, you now need to develop the checklist of identified best practices, which includes a list of business goals, along with technical challenges like delayed or incomplete data transfers. In order to make the transition foolproof, you may want to schedule a demo to explain how adopting these data migration best practices for cloud migrations can help your company transition to the cloud within budget and time. 

Here are some views on cloud migration best practices, which include Gartner’s “Five Rs” model. This discussion has thrown light on the differences between rehosting, replatforming, repurchasing, refactoring, and retiring migration methods of cloud migration. 

Let’s look at the cloud migration best practices checklist:

  • Begin with a cloud-migration strategy map, which defines the business motivations and the explicit use cases behind moving to the cloud. There are many cloud-based migration strategies you can adopt, depending on your business context. Generally, rehosting strategy is chosen by an organization that wants to do quick migration of its applications in the cloud for the purpose of the business use cases.
  • Take an in-depth inventory of your current deployment and check the performance of your applications while moving traffic into the cloud. This same performance check will have to be repeated after landing on the cloud. 
  • During pre-migration, identify tools and processes for which some training could give your team a head-start on succeeding in the cloud. Look into processes that might need adjusting, or at operational tools training to empower your team. 
  • Assemble a discovery team, which can help identify applications, along with respective owners, vendors, and stakeholders. The next step is to map, define, and monitor assets that will need to be included in migration. Training and developing skillsets takes time, and to accelerate migration activities, organizations can bring in a new team with the required skillset, or use a managed services provider with migration experience.
  • Develop templates and automation tools to rapidly tackle the complexities while staying aligned to a plan. 
  • Prioritize workloads, develop an appropriate migration plan for each workload, develop a pilot, and then adjust the cloud-migration plan based on pilot results. An effective migration plan incorporates a smart, data-driven business case for adopting the cloud, then delivers a clear, step-by-step migration plan that takes you from the pilot through to post-migration governance. 
  • A “lift-and-shift” migration method takes existing data and applications and rehosts them in a clean manner to the cloud. The re-platform cloud-migration strategy helps reduce the effective footprint of a cloud migration, and helps deliver the benefits and nimbleness that the cloud provider offers. Migrated applications should be tested using your chosen strategy. 
  • NetApps Cloud solutions can help make your data migration simpler, providing tools to make data transfers and syncs easy, fast, and secure. NetApp makes it easier to migrate to the cloud by using Cloud Volumes ONTAP, an enterprise data management platform that is designed to work with AWS, Azure, and Google cloud native services.
  • Advanced data engineering solutions such as data aggregation,  Sumo Logic analytics platforms, and Datadog help to easily transition from on-premises to cloud through data collection to monitoring the migration process. Monitoring the cloud migration process from start to finish helps avoid many known challenges. 

This article offers additional best practices to consider for a seamless cloud migration project. 

Closing Note

Cloud migration, while offering many business benefits, must be well planned and executed to deliver the desired results. This article, hopefully, will aid business operators to plan their next cloud migration project. 

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

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